30 July 2010

The Gates S1 E3 "Breach"

Spoilers Ahead

Well, The Gates managed to pique my interest a bit with episode 3, although there still isn't enough vampire action. But the situation is improving with the introduction of new character Christian Harper (played by Paul Blackthorne, Leverage, Deadwood)--a vampire who actually acts like one. Hallelujah! Let's hope last episode was simply an anomaly.

So, Christian is an old friend of Claire's--old enough that he remembers when she too acted like a vampire and not a domesticated Gates housewife. In fact, he can't quite believe she's actually happy in The Gates. I can't imagine why, what with all her protesting. It doesn't take long for Claire to be tempted by Christian, and while most people have affairs of the flesh, hers is an affair of the blood. There's an enjoyable scene of her and Christian sharing dinner. Meanwhile, suspicious-but-clueless hubby Dylan is just happy to have the "old" (read: "his") Claire back. Whatever she's doing, he encourages her to keep doing it. Well, all right then--no need to tell her twice. But that's pretty much all the vampire activity for this episode. Maybe we'll be luckier next time.

In other happenings, a hacker gets into the Gates' isolated security network and keeps the cops busy as they follow up what turns out to be multiple false alarms. They soon realize that the false alarms were a diversion to distract them from the numerous real burglaries taking place elsewhere. After a lockdown of the entire community, many questions asked, and accusations thrown about, it takes a fluke to ultimately catch the thief: the high school history/computer science teacher, conveniently introduced this episode (his knowledge of Tudor history was crap anyway). But the real revelation is that Deputy Leigh Turner has some sort of supernatural secret of her own. When her place is burglarized and an ornate box stolen, she's desperate to get it back. That probably has something to do with the fact that being separated from whatever's in the box causes pain, sickness, and (it's implied) really horrible things. Remember the briefcase in Pulp Fiction that belonged to Marcellus Wallace and emitted a strange golden glow when opened? Well, when Leigh is reunited with the box and checks inside, there's a faint white glow. Are we going to find out what's in there, or are they going to Pulp Fiction us? Whatever it is, it's worth killing for as Leigh shoots the teacher/burglar merely for having seen it. Curiouser and curiouser.

The false alarms also give us a chance to find out that another new character, Mrs. McAllister, has some sort of secret of her own. It's only hinted at, but it has her cowering and hiding in her own kitchen from the police. The Gates is just full of secrets.

Meanwhile, after a whole week of dating, Deputy Marcus's new girlfriend, Teresa, manages to finagle her way into his apartment as his new roomie. Suspicions about her were brought up during the episode and quickly dismissed, but I don't think we should forget about them just yet (for one thing, she still doesn't have a last name).

Andie finally breaks up with Brett, sending him into a fury that can only be assuaged by a run in the woods (outside The Gates) with the other young pack members. But when his mom (a woman with the biggest stick you've ever seen up anyone's ass) finds out what he did, she grounds him for a month and forbids him to go running again. It turns out Brett's father and brother were killed by hunters while out running. So mom's got issues. But by the end of the episode Brett is back with the pack. Ah, teenage werewolf rebellion. Meanwhile Andie doesn't waste any time in moving on to Charlie.

I also have to mention the cinematography this episode. Why are filmmakers so afraid of light? I'm at a loss to explain the recent spate of overly dark scenes, forcing me to squint in a pointless attempt to make out what's going on (and no, it's not my vision). There's moody and then there's just dim.

Speaking of dim, the writing could also use some fine-tuning. There's still a feeling of scenes being awkwardly tacked on or forced as a way of moving the story forward. Not good. And a little snappy dialogue never hurt anyone. Hey, I'm not expecting Buffy, but something that I don't forget five minutes later might be nice.

But still, there were a few intriguing developments this time around, no terribly annoying characters, and slightly more to keep us vampire fans entertained. I'm still on the fence about The Gates, but at least I haven't given up just yet.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, with subtle fangs.

Strengths: Ability to suddenly and silently appear and disappear. Possibly the ability to mesmerize the humans they feed on.

Weaknesses: Being married to a self-hating vampire.

Mythology: The one rule is no feeding inside The Gates (but Claire and Dylan--mostly Dylan--have chosen not to feed at all, only drinking blood supplied by the lab he works for).

Sound Bite

Claire: People change.
Christian: People do. We don't.

The Gates, Season 1 Episode 3 "Breach." Written by Richard Hatem. Directed by Terry McDonough. From ABC.

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